Cemetery Asks Families to Remove Flags

Too tattered to stay?
Too tattered to stay?

Imagine having a cemetery tell you to remove an American flag from your loved one's burial plot. That's what's happening at Forest Lawn Memory Gardens off Bonaventure in Thunderbolt. We spoke with one family who says they're not going to do it.

They said Harold Williams fought for his country and they will not remove the flag he risked his life to protect.

"There's flags all out here, my dad was in the military," said his son David Williams.

Many other families have placed flags for family members who risked their lives for this country. But now Forest Lawn Memory Gardens has sent out a letter saying those flags must come down.

"These flags and flagpoles were never sold nor installed by cemetery personnel and the cemetery has no responsibility to maintain or replace these flags," said David.

David and his mother Shirley say it's a bad idea. "I support our military and I think that by flying the United States flag, it shows our support," Shirley said.

The letter also states that the only flag that will be allowed to remain is this one which stand at the front entrance.

When we asked Forest Lawn why, they said it wasn't a lack of patriotism, but rather too many people weren't taking care of the flags they placed, leaving them torn or improperly displayed.

They also said they received many phone calls from people and military personnel about the disrespect being shown the American flag.

David Williams feels his family shouldn't suffer for other people's mistakes. "I understand about the tore-up ones, but notify the people. Tell them, give them a chance to replace them. Don't send us a letter telling us to take it down."

Family members have until April 15 to remove their flags and flagpoles.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com